'Woodies' head HOF class

2010-07-10 22:06

Newport - Australia's Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde headed a class of seven inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Woodbridge and Woodforde - known as the "Woodies" - were enshrined along with doubles partners Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva.

Another Australian, Owen Davidson, was enshrined in the Master player category along with Derek Hardwick, the former president of the International Tennis Federation, who was enshrined posthumously.

"This is an amazing day for the Woodies," Woodforde said. "I don't know if any of us said we're just going to be doubles players. We just excelled on the doubles court a little more than we did on the singles. As much as we would have loved to win more singles titles, we did in doubles."

The pair combined for 11 major titles and 61 overall from 1991-2000. They held the record for most doubles titles until it was matched by American's Bob and Mike Bryan this year.

"I think we won our fourth tournament we played together," Woodbridge said. "It was close on average to every fourth tournament we won the next 10 years. That's pretty good business."

In keeping with the doubles theme, the weather offered a "double dose" for fans watching the 65-minute ceremony on Newport's grass courts. It started in a heavy rain that gave way to sunshine after about 15 minutes.

"I figured if I could team up with Mark we'd do well together. We did better than well, we did bloody great," Woodbridge told the crowd during the on-court ceremony after family members and guests were able to put away their umbrellas.

Fernandez and Zvereva captured 14 grand slam tournament titles together. They were introduced by 2002 Hall of Famer Pam Shriver.

"She was fire and I was ice," Zvereva told the crowd.

Fernandez was the first Puerto Rican-born player to be inducted into the Hall. Zvereva was from Belarus.

Davidson won eight Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, including all four in 1967, the year before the Open era began. He also won two Grand Slam doubles, the 1972 Australian Open with Ken Rosewall, and 1973 US Open with John Newcombe.

Brad Parks, the pioneer of wheelchair tennis, was the Hall's first wheelchair inductee.